Ghent, Oct. 17, 2023 – Ghent University, Flemish investment company PMV and Ghent real estate developer Alides are joining forces for the realization of the previously announced AI Campus Hub on Tech Lane Science Park in Ghent-Zwijnaarde. The hub will become a pole of attraction unique in Europe for companies and researchers looking to push boundaries with AI, Deep Tech and semiconductor photonics. This confirms Ghent and Flanders’ leading position as growth poles of technological innovation.
The project for this ambitious and large-scale AI Campus Hub is gaining momentum as Ghent University, the Flemish investment company PMV and Alides join forces. The promoters are thus taking part in the lead in the development of Deep Tech in Europe.
Rector Rik Van de Walle of Ghent University underlines the importance of this project and the opportunities it offers:
“The AI Campus Hub gives Tech Lane’s innovation ecosystem a strong boost. With it, we are putting Flanders and Ghent at the forefront of AI and Deep Tech, technologies that will have a major impact on society.”
The place of choice for innovation teams and co-creation
AI Campus Hub will be a tower building of about 20,000 m2 in which more than 600 AI and Deep Tech specialists from both companies and research institutions can work to create the digital applications of tomorrow. The tower will be the meeting place for collaboration between various Deep Tech disciplines.
For large companies, AI Campus Hub will be the place of choice to locate their AI and photonics innovation teams there. Start-ups and SMEs can also go there to develop new products and smart devices or robots in co-creation with researchers and other companies.
In doing so, they can use co-working spaces, the fab lab, and the nearby clean room, which is at the world’s forefront of semiconductor photonics development. These high-tech clean room facilities will be expanded and modified concurrently with the construction of the tower.
Large-scale European Deep Tech hub
Not coincidentally, the AI Campus Hub will be located on Tech Lane Ghent Science Park, the science park that PMV, Ghent University and the City of Ghent are realizing together, bringing together spinoffs, start-up and growing companies and research centers within a vibrant ecosystem of pioneering innovations. Today, 4,500 researchers are already at work, including at companies and research centers such as Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, BASF, Daikin, Eastman, imec, VIB and about 100 Deep Tech start-ups.
“As CEO of a Ghent family business, I am delighted with our selection as a partner for the creation of the AI Campus Hub. Alides has a successful track record in real estate development, both in Belgium and Poland, with a particular focus on mixed-use urban developments. Our solid experience in developing high-quality community-oriented buildings, such as the Quantum building in Ghent, and our expertise in complex real estate realizations, has made this partnership possible. We look forward to realizing the AI Campus Hub and creating an inspiring place where the future is being shaped.”Rikkert Leeman, CEO of Alides
At the forefront of the technologies of the future
Ghent University, Flemish investment company PMV and real estate partner Alides are in full preparation to realize the AI Campus Hub in the near future. The project is also financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Fund for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FIO), the City of Ghent and the Province of East Flanders. Architectural firm EVR will design the building. It will be built by General Construction Maes and should be completed as early as 2026.
“Flanders can and must continue to claim its place in top global research, such as in AI and photonics. For this you not only need space, but space that builds bridges, brings people together and stimulates creativity. As financier of the new building, we want to ensure the further anchoring of the cluster in artificial intelligence and photonics. PMV is one of the most active investors in Belgium, with a portfolio that includes quite a few companies that originated here in Ghent and that are able to develop successfully from this biotope thanks in part to PMV financing: Sentea, Indigo, Morrow Optics… We are proud that with this initiative we are part of the foundation of a biotope unseen in Europe with R&D experts from both research and industry.”Michel Casselman, general manager of PMV
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About the UGent
Ghent University (UGent) is one of the largest universities in Belgium, founded in 1817. With 86 departments across 11 faculties, it offers high quality, research-supported education in virtually every scientific discipline. Ghent University is a pluralistic university, open to all regardless of ideological, political, cultural or social background. UGent is an active partner in national and international cooperation in education, science and industry.
As an investment company, PMV is building a sustainable Flemish economy, the engine of our prosperity and well-being. We partner with ambitious companies and projects, committed to social impact and financial return. PMV finances promising companies from early stage, through growth and internationalization. PMV offers customized financial solutions to all entrepreneurs with a good business plan and a strong management team. It does so with capital, loans and guarantees. It also realizes with and for the government, and other partners, projects that are important for the prosperity and well-being of Flanders. PMV has a portfolio with 1.7 billion euros under management.
Alides, a family real estate player and part of Ghent-based Group Maes, founded in 1892, has been an established player in the real estate industry for generations. Thanks to its hybrid profile as an investor and developer, and its focus on quality, sustainability and innovation, Alides is realizing its expansion strategy in strong urban locations in Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland. With years of experience in office and residential real estate, Alides aims to continue and strengthen its position as a reference in the real estate industry. Thanks to a long-term vision, a client-oriented approach and turnkey solutions, Alides realizes its mission as “your partner in real estate.” Alides’ real estate portfolio is worth more than 650 million euros and its development pipeline represents future sales of more than 900 million euros.